# High quality mechanical pencil

#### dipole

I recently have made the switch to mechanical pencils from old fashioned ones. I have to say I'm really enjoying them and my handwriting has improved (I used to write very hard and dark).

I find that I really enjoy this particular kind:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00006IEE4/?tag=pfamazon01-20

because I like the "twist to advance" mechanism, which also makes the lead break far less easily. I figure since I spend a good 20-30 hours a week writing on paper, I should just invest in a high-quality refillable mechanical pencil (I am aware its possible to refill the sharpwriters). I want one that is similar in design to the above ones, with a head that you twist to advance or retract the lead.

#### turbo

Gold Member
I have quite a number of mechanical pencils, but my all-time favorite is a Caran D'Ache Fixpencil 2. It is always lying on the top of my desk and gets used in preference to markers, pens, etc. It is very old-school, but it is a wonderful instrument. It was the preferred pencil for sketching at the eyepiece when observing with a telescope. The larger lead (vs other mechanical pencils) didn't snag or poke through the paper when the paper got a bit soft during the night, and it's a whole lot easier to shade sketches vs smaller leads.

#### SHISHKABOB

mechanical pencils always turned me off because of their "high maintenance"

I'll stick with pens

#### zoobyshoe

Here's my test:

If the pencil pushes the lead out in such a way that when the lead is too short and one more click makes it too long, then the pencil is crap.
With the "clicker" depressed, you can push the lead back in to where ever you want it. I just click them out past where I want them, then depress the clicker and push them back.

Gold Member
With the "clicker" depressed, you can push the lead back in to where ever you want it. I just click them out past where I want them, then depress the clicker and push them back.
Having to do that every time you need more lead doesn't annoy the hell out of you? What if you accidentally push it in too far? You have to do it all over again. It drives me nuts; I simply refuse to deal with such pencils! :grumpy:

This is something about which I'm unusually passionate. I can't explain why I get so aggravated over pencils, but I've had quite a few heated debates on this very subject with some of my classmates.

#### turbo

Gold Member
With the "clicker" depressed, you can push the lead back in to where ever you want it. I just click them out past where I want them, then depress the clicker and push them back.
Zooby, I highly recommend that you get a Caran D-Ache Fixpencil 2 with relatively soft lead. Given your skills at sketching and your need for a pencil that excels at shading, I'm certain that you will be happy. Fixpencils are decidedly low-tech and durable and can be had for around $20 or so if you shop around. I love mine! If it were lost or stolen, I'd get another. No chance it will break - they are too simple and tough. #### zoobyshoe Zooby, I highly recommend that you get a Caran D-Ache Fixpencil 2 with relatively soft lead. Given your skills at sketching and your need for a pencil that excels at shading, I'm certain that you will be happy. Fixpencils are decidedly low-tech and durable and can be had for around$20 or so if you shop around. I love mine! If it were lost or stolen, I'd get another. No chance it will break - they are too simple and tough.
I already have a large number of clutch pencils, the kind draftsmen used to use, with a large variety of leads. I pick these up at the swap meet for a song, and have more than I actually use. The leads are 2mm. The great thing about these is the lead pointers: you can sharpen a clutch pencil sharper than any other kind. The drawback is they don't make leads for them softer than 5B, and those are hard to find. I have to resort to conventional art pencils for the 5B to 9B range of values.

#### turbo

Gold Member
I already have a large number of clutch pencils, the kind draftsmen used to use, with a large variety of leads. I pick these up at the swap meet for a song, and have more than I actually use. The leads are 2mm. The great thing about these is the lead pointers: you can sharpen a clutch pencil sharper than any other kind. The drawback is they don't make leads for them softer than 5B, and those are hard to find. I have to resort to conventional art pencils for the 5B to 9B range of values.
I see. And yes, having a sharpener under the cap is a BIG plus. You can get one very fine point on a high-quality lead for fine work. I figured that you carried around sets of art pencils to do your art-work. You've already been there, done that with the clutch pencils. I've had mine for ~30 years. An advertising give-away from Proceq SA - manufacturer of non-destructive material testing equipment.

#### zoobyshoe

I see. And yes, having a sharpener under the cap is a BIG plus. You can get one very fine point on a high-quality lead for fine work. I figured that you carried around sets of art pencils to do your art-work. You've already been there, done that with the clutch pencils. I've had mine for ~30 years. An advertising give-away from Proceq SA - manufacturer of non-destructive material testing equipment.
The included pointer is actually not very good and I always carry a separate lead pointer with me. They make small, plastic ones nowadays as opposed to the very heavy metal ones that used to be standard. These new ones are very portable:

I actually carry a whole cigar box of pencils, all kinds of different ones, but I generally use the clutch pencils most because I have a range of lead hardness and they always stay the same length, as opposed to normal pencils which get shorter and shorter, obviously.

#### DaveC426913

Gold Member
What if you accidentally push it in too far? You have to do it all over again. It drives me nuts; I simply refuse to deal with such pencils! :grumpy:
It's sorta annoying, yeah. But while I agree, the dial-a-lead of the Papermates is a fine feature, I do not like the heft of them. They seem cheap and light. And the erasers suck (not that I use them - that's what my artgum wad is for)

A good heft is important.

#### zoobyshoe

Having to do that every time you need more lead doesn't annoy the hell out of you? What if you accidentally push it in too far? You have to do it all over again. It drives me nuts; I simply refuse to deal with such pencils! :grumpy:

This is something about which I'm unusually passionate. I can't explain why I get so aggravated over pencils, but I've had quite a few heated debates on this very subject with some of my classmates.
No, it doesn't bother me. I use these kinds of pencils for both sketching and writing. I guess I'm over any inconvenience resharpening or reclicking presents.

#### Chi Meson

Homework Helper
my pencil

http://www.dickblick.com/products/pentel-mechanical-pencil

There is a sleeve that comes out when the lead is advanced. The sleeve prevents the lead from breaking, and normal writing will cause the sleeve to retract as the lead is used up. Result, longer periods between advances.

The pencil is MUCH better than any disposables, but it doesn't cost too much. I don't know how much, because I've had the same one for about 15 years now.

I think this is the third time I've mentioned this on PF.

#### turbo

Gold Member
I have a lot of Pentels. My wife generally gloms onto them, but that's OK because I love my Fixpencil.